Sergei Dzinziruk will defend his WBO junior middleweight belt in a rematch with Lukas Konecny on Sept. 30 in the Czech Republic in a fight that won't be televised in the United States, which irks Dzinziruk's promoter, Gary Shaw.
Shaw claims that HBO promised to air Dzinziruk (37-1, 23 knockouts) this summer if he agreed to fight then-middleweight titleholder Sergio Martinez this past March, which he did. Martinez stopped the Ukrainian in eight rounds, after which Dzinziruk returned to 154 pounds.
But now, Shaw said, the network is not holding up its end of the bargain even after he pitched Dzinziruk against a Paul Williams, Austin Trout, Erislandy Lara and Alfredo Angulo, "so it wasn't for lack of us trying to fight."
Dzinziruk's mandatory title defense — against Konecny — came due during all of this so he agreed to take that fight.
"We were promised … that if Sergei Dzinziruk fought Sergio Martinez, they would bring us back in the summer," said Shaw. "Then the next story was that they had no dates and they had no money, but if [the NFL series] Hard Knocks didn't go, then they would bring Sergei back.
"Next thing I know, [Top Rank's] Nonito Donaire gets a Nov. 5 date even though they said that they had no money and no dates. Then there's no Hard Knocks, and they still do not bring Dzinziruk back."
Phone calls to HBO were not returned.
Sources have cited the difficulty in finding a date for Dzinziruk in its stacked fall lineup and Dzinziruk's hefty contracted minimum with Shaw and co-promoter Artie Pellulo as obstacles to a deal.
Shaw dismissed that notion.
"There was a date that was promised to us. It's as simple as that," said Shaw. "There's was no one at 154 that we we wouldn't fight. We were willing to fight anyone."
Konecny (47-3, 22 KOs) has won 11 straight since having losing a majority decision in 2008 to Dzinziruk, who must now face Konecny in his home country .
WHAT'S NEXT FOR TROUT?
A proposed matchup against Dzinziruk never came to fruition. Nor have discussions with Williams or Pawel Wolak.
"I spoke to Gary Shaw about Dzinziruk, and they are definitely interested in fighting us," said Cohen. "But Dzinziruk had some issues to take care of first with his mandatory. Mundine is our mandatory. We know we're going to fight Mundine, but probably not until the end of the year.
"In the meantime, we're looking to have a fight before then, but nobody wants to fight this kid. We've talked to Williams' people, Pawel Wolak's people. No one wants to get into the ring with Austin Trout."
Trout is coming off a unanimous decision over David Lopez in June, the first defense of the belt he won from Alvarez in February. Part of Trout's preparation for Alvarez included sparring with Martinez, who he helped prepare for his victory over Dzinziruk in March.
PAVLIK SAYS TEAM WON'T CHANGE
Pavlik said he spent the last week on a friend's 35-acre farm in Kentucky "relaxing, fishing and clearing my head."
"I've talked to everybody," he said. "I've talked to Cameron, I've talked to my dad, and I've talked to Jack. Even though nobody came out and said that they were behind me 100 percent, Cameron and Jack still supported my decision. My dad did support me 100 percent.
"Cameron's a great agent. He's done wonders for me, and I can never knock him for that. Jack is going to be my trainer. I'm close to him. Whatever his feelings are, I don't know, but his job is to be my trainer, and I will stick by him 100 percent. Me and my dad, we're always going to be close. That's my Poppy, so I'm not going to change that."
MITCHELL MARCHES ON
No U.S.-born fighter has held a heavyweight title since 2007, when Shannon Briggs was briefly held the WBO's strap. In 2006, Hasim Rahman held the WBC belt, and Chris Byrd, the IBF's. Puerto Rican-American John Ruiz was the first Latino to have a belt with that of the WBA's in 2005.
"With the landscape of the heavyweight division, I don't think that it's that far off," said Mitchell, a 29-year-old from Brandywine, Md. "I think that it will happen sometime in 2012, maybe during the latter part of the year."
Mitchell's clash with Mollo (20-3-1, 12 KOs) will be his second straight televised bout. He stopped Evan Quinn in the first round in May on Showtime.
"I'm just looking to improve," he said. "I think that's what I've done during my last five or six fights. I've gotten better each fight, and I don't want any setbacks. If I go the distance, I want to look good going the distance. I just want to continue to win, but to look good while winning."
Having sparred a number of rounds with Mitchell, southpaw contender Tony Thompson (36-2, 24 KOs) believes that he is the real thing.
"I've sparred hundreds of rounds with Seth. I've sparred with him since he first began fighting," said Thompson, who meets Eddie Chambers in an IBF title eliminator in October. "We've prepared each other for damn near all of our fights really. We've been constant sparring partners for each other."
"Choose your poison," Mitchell said. "Both of the Klitschkos are great fighters in their own way. The older brother applies more pressure and he brings a little bit more than the younger brother.
"Both of them are tall trees. Whoever it is that I have to fight, if they're still on the throne, you know my camp will put together a great game plan, and I would just have to go in there and implement it."
Thompson believes that Mitchell is a future titleholder, maybe just not right away.
"Seth is like me," he said. "He didn't have a big amateur career, so he's really learning on the fly. Seth is a big, strong guy, and he's progressed steadily and he's dedicated to his craft.
"I think that as long as he maintains his strong work ethic, he's going to do big things. But I think that he's a year away from fighting some of the Top 20 guys. Next year, he should make his ascent into the Top 10 and go from there."
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org